Maryland Passes Buy American Bill
Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 138-2 to pass a Buy America bill (HB191) that creates a preference for American-made goods to be used in public works projects. On March 20, the State Senate passed similar legislation. Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the bill.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has actively worked to support the bill, including lobbying by AAM field coordinator Mark Musho, AAM testimony in both the House and Senate, and a letter to Gov. O'Malley by AAM President Scott Paul.
AAM is a strong advocate of Buy America preferences at both the state and federal levels.
Maryland's HB191creates a preference for American-made manufactured goods used in constructing or maintaining a public work or for machinery or equipment installed at a public work site. The bill is an addition to similar state-level laws already on the books in Maryland for steel and employee uniforms, making Maryland a leader in the Made in America movement. HB191 also includes common-sense waivers to alleviate short-term market limitations.
As AAM has explained in support of buying American-made for state projects:
• Maryland should not subsidize jobs in Beijing or Bangalore. Instead of sending our hard-earned tax dollars overseas to purchase foreign-made manufactured goods we should reinvest those tax dollars into our local and national economy, especially when cost-competitive, quality American-made goods are available.
• HB191/SB47 promotes growth, expands the tax base, and, by hiring workers, lowers the burden on social safety net programs.
• States should reward American companies and their workers who meet U.S. standards for clean air, clean water, and safe workplaces. Our companies are often subjected to unfairly traded, subsidized imports from companies held to much lower standards. Bypassing American manufacturers for goods made elsewhere rewards those companies that have moved their operations, investment dollars, and jobs to foreign countries. Passing Buy America legislation can encourage firms to set up shop in states like Maryland, where the manufacturing workforce has shrunk by 52,200 jobs since 2002, a 33% decline.
• Buying American can create more manufacturing jobs by maximizing domestic content in infrastructure investments – 33 percent more, according to research conducted at University of Massachusetts at Amherst. As a recent report by the Duke University Center for Globalization observes, “…domestic content requirements have helped develop a robust U.S. component supply chain and give vital opportunities to U.S. firms.”
• Voters strongly support Buy America. In a public survey conducted for AAM by a bipartisan team of pollsters, 89% of voters indicated their support for Buy America laws, including 91% of Democrats and 87% of Republicans.
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